We all know that in business is vital that everything is documented – “If it isn’t written, it isn’t legitimate!” However, when we want to show our bosses or team members that problems exist, the tendency is for us to tell them and hope that they will do something. The Critical Incidence Log is a way for us to document a problem over a period of time in such a way that a clear, concise picture is formed of what has and is happening and may be used as evidence, if necessary.
Let’s look at two typical situations where the Critical Incidence Log is useful.
You have been working in the same organization for a number of years and know that you are a good, conscientious and loyal worker. However, you have seen other employees promoted internally while you have remained in the same position. Your annual performance appraisal has never been bad or negative and, as far as you know, there are no complaints about your work. So, what can you do?
One option is to use the Critical Incidence technique to document your work load, productivity, etc.
– Get a one-page-per-day diary.
– Every time you are given a new task / project write down, on the appropriate page, the time, details of the task, the due date and any other factors that are important.
– Keep updating the diary with progress reports, blocks to progress & attempts to resolve them, meetings attended, decisions taken, If necessary, indicate the names of witnesses and other factors that effect the project – Write down both good news and bad news.
– In this context, when you a minimum of three month’s data, arrange a meeting with your boss, show them the data you have collected and ask for comments.
Use the Critical Incidence Log as a resource when you have personally seen and heard one of your team behaving in an undesirable manner with other people which is affecting morale, productivity and overall results. You must NOT rely on second- or third-hand information from other people who might have hidden agendas. Once you have evidence of a “Trend” toward this type of inappropriate behaviour, take action!
Obviously, there are many other contexts where this resource is an invaluable tool to help resolve a wide range of problematic situations.
It is vital that the Log is completed on a regular basis (daily if possible) and the writer’s continuity in completing the log indicates a commitment to resolving the problem.
© Brownlee & Associates, Madrid, Spain, 2010 & 2016. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied, translated or reproduced in any form without the prior written consent of Brownlee & Associates.